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  1. Yeah I noticed the same thing in the world book. I'm guessing the ancient cultures like the Mazemakers build artificial tunnel systems to mimic the natural, magical underground systems. Also, The Bones - the mountain range that extends across Essos - is full of maze-like tunnels that have been partially exposed. I assume these are weirwood tunnels opened up by natural erosion.
  2. Yes, I absolutely think the upper areas of the crypts man made and the further you go down the more the tunnels would be “natural” tunnels. So deep down you’d have endless passages full bones like blooodraven’s cave, maybe some Stark and COTF merged with weirwoods, then towards the top you’d have passages that are more man-made. Bran notices in the BR cave the weirwood ”roots were everywhere, twisting through earth and stone, closing off some passages and holding up the roofs of others.” So growth and change and movement of weirwoods roots likely collapsed the lower crypt levels.
  3. . . . the cave system beneath Winterfell’s weirwood? In ADWD we saw Bloodraven’s vast cave system that sat below a weirwood tree, full of tunnels that extended miles and miles in all directions, so vast that Leaf says her people have not explored the caves fully. We know the ground was not leveled when Winterfell was built. If Winterfell was built around a sacred weirwood with a huge underground network of tunnels it would make sense the original builders would leave the ground untouched lest they dig up the cave system. The tunnels under the Bloodraven weirwood are a natural occurrence. This can be inferred from Leaf’s warning in ADWD that “Even my people have not explored them all, and we have lived here for a thousand thousand of your man-years.” So the Winterfell crypts are the natural tunnels system beneath the weirwood where, much like Bloodraven’s cave, COTF and possibly First Men bound themselves with the weirwood roots in ancient times.
  4. I really like the idea that “black stone fallen from the sky” is the black stone created by dragon fire. I never favored interpretations that claimed an actual meteor hit Planetos, so ‘fallen from the sky’ = ‘made by flying dragons’ makes way more sense.
  5. For me it’s really the sword Dawn that’s the most prominent connection between the Daynes and Great Empire. It’s unlike any sword in known world EXCEPT for the swords wielded by the YiTi spirits in Dany’s dreams. In fact I haven’t really seen any really compelling theory on the origin of Dawn.
  6. We should note that in Dany’s fever dream in GOT she sees the spirits of ancient YiTi kings, and the descriptions of their hair don’t exactly match those of East Asians: “Ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded raiment of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white, and their eyes were opal and amethyst, tourmaline and jade.”
  7. I would consider the tale of dragons coming from a cracked moon simply the prophesy we see fulfilled in the books: the moon comes close to the sun, cracks, dragons spill forth and drink the flames of the sun = Dany walks into Dragos funeral pyre (she’s the moon, he’s the sun) and the magic brings the stone eggs to life birthing the 3 dragons. I’ve personally never felt many of the ASOIAF astronomy theories compelling. I’m personally not hung up on the Daynes following a meteor to Starfall and forging a sword from the rock, in fact I think it’s more like they brought it over from the Empire of the Dawn. The best link is Dany’s fever dream which provides an undeniable link to the ancient Empire: “ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded rain meant of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white, and their eyes were opal and amethyst, tourmaline and jade.” Dawn sounds like one of these swords of pale fire. We do not have any direct evidence of dragons in YiTi, but GRRM is scanty with evidence sometimes. I think he intends us to make the connection between the mysterious sword Dawn, like Valyrian steel in every way except color, and the fused stone 5 forts and ancient base of Hightower to dragonflame, especially since the Empire was so close to Asshai. And I agree with you, I think some dark magic in the Great Empire brought on the Others and the Lion of Night, and this same dark magic corrupted the lands of Asshai. I wouldn’t doubt if nothing truly fell from the sky in the case of Starfall or the Blood Emperor, it’s just the same distorted myths that led to myths of dragons from the sky.
  8. In my understanding there are 2 types of black stone: oily black stone and fused black stone. The black stone structures made by Valyrians are not described as “oily”, and neither are the base of Hightower or the Five Forts. Most importantly is the base of Hightower resides on on an island known Battle Isle, suggesting it was important for an ancient battle long forgotten. And according to TWOIAF the settlement has been occupied “since the dawn age” and “we know for a certainty the base predates the upper levels by thousands of years”. There is the suggestion in TWOIAF that “dragons once roosted at the top of battle isle”. So we have 2 ancient fortresses of fused (but not oily) black stone. The fused massive non-oily fused stone slabs of the Fire Five suggests dragonfire was used, as does the base of hightower, but the Five Forts predate Valyria and the Architecture of base of the Hightower has no hints of Valyrian design. So why would early Daynes leave YiTi and travel so far away? I’m guessing it’s a bit of a parallel with the Targaryeans leaving Valyria to settle Westeros, though more extreme. I’m guessing early Daynes left around the same time the of the legendary slaying of the “Amethyst Empress”, which happened to precede the Empire of the Dawn’s equivalent of the Long Night. They took some dragons, the sword Dawn, and took up residence in Westeros building a fortress on Battle Isle and playing a role in ending the Long Night. But to me the biggest reason to think the Daynes come from YiTi is their sword Dawn. Whether or not the sword was forged from a meteorite on Starfall, it’s forging requires magic and techniques unknown in Westeros, it’s like Valyrian Steel in a respects except the color, and it’s appearance is like the swords wielded by the spirits in Dany’s fever dream (and the spirits of Dany’s dream are highly suggestive of a YiTish origin by their various eye colors.) I don’t see an easy way to explain the sword Dawn without invoking a Great Empire connection, whether the sword itself came from the Great Empire or was forged using the same magic.
  9. Fair enough, but the Daynes have an eye color not seen in other First Men. GRRM didn’t give the Daynes purple eyes for fun, colors are clues. Also it’s not clear if the ancient people YiTi had Asian facial features. Or perhaps they did look Asian but the intermixing of Daynes and other First Men removed the Asian facial features but left the purple eyes. Why would just the purple eyes remain? This is a fantasy world, not the real world. It’s likely some ancient dragonlords (Pre-Valyrian) came to Westeros because the base of Hightower is fused black stone. There are no other known ways in the ASOIAF lore fused black stone can be made other than by dragon fire.
  10. The legends have attributed many structures across Westeros to Bran the Builder. But as we know and are reminded many times, history tends to shroud the truth in ASOIAF. Wouldn’t it be apt for GRRM to have made the “builder” moniker a red herring and that whatever Bran the Builder built wasn’t a physical structure? It would make sense as the legend of Bran the Builder was passed down through oral history and could accidentally take on a literal meaning over thousands of years. Also, isn’t it striking we have another legendary character named Bran the Breaker? Doesn’t the Builder/Breaker dichotomy jump out and smack you right in the face, like it was an intentional hint planted by GRRM about the role of these two Starks in ancient history? Do you think it’s reasonable that Bran the Breaker “broke” whatever Bran the Builder “built“? Whether it was a pact, an alliance, or even a physical structure, it seems like a possibility worth pursuing. (I’m aware the Breaker is known for taking down the Night’s King and the Builder for raising the Wall and many other structures, but to solve these ancient Stark mysteries we probably have to engage in some deeper conjecture about their roles.)
  11. So you don’t believe that dragons are the results of blood magic that combines wyverns and firewyms? I personally subscribe to that theory. You have a lot of great ideas but I am curious: since the base of Hightower is fused black stone how did they transports the massive object from Essos? It’s seemless so it couldn’t have been brought in several pieces.
  12. We’ve all read about the famous Blood Betrayal from ancient YiTi history so there’s no need to quote it here. And we know from GRRM the Daynes don’t have purple eyes because of a Valyrian heritage. And we know some of the structures and artifacts in Westeros can’t be of First Men origin like the base of Hightower (fused black stone) and the sword Dawn (essentially a pale version of Valyrian steel). Some of the fanbase reasonably believes the Daynes don’t share the same origins as the First Men. So could the legend of the slaying of the “Amethyst Empress” (if she was indeed slain, perhaps it was more of a political divide within the ancient Great Empire) been the catalyst for a faction of purple-eyed people to escape to Westeros? The original Daynes could have the kin of the Amethyst Empress (or she could have been the figurative representation of an entire faction within the Great Empire.) The amethyst-eyed ancestors of the Daynes could have flown to Westeros on pre-Valyrian dragons, built the base of Hightower, established a home in Starfall, and brought the dragonsteel-like sword Dawn. (Or perhaps, if the legends are true, forging it from a fallen rock on Starfall - likely using dragon flame and magic.) Or perhaps the Daynes didn’t bring the dragons but through some other means came to Westeros. It would explain how they came to possess the mysterious sword Dawn. Another possibility I should mention - but don’t necessarily believe - is that the famous “black stone that had fallen from the sky” worshipped by the Bloodstone Emperor was the “fallen star” that gave Starfall it’s name. Perhaps the Great Empire had a colony in Westeros near old town and witnessed a meteor fall nearby. The Daynes and the base of the Hightower could be remnants of the ancient colony.
  13. To me, the greatest mysteries of the entire book series are what caused and what ended the Long Night. And it’s frustrating but fascinating that no one has put together a really compelling theory. But just focusing on the cause of the Long Night for now, what’s the popular consensus? Where the humans converted into Others by the CotF? Or we they conjured or created in some other way by the Children? And if so why, since the first man and COTF lived at peace during the Pact? Does the Night’s King’s story okay a role? Or did the Others just arise unexpectedly from the far north and bring death and destruction down through Westeros? Did the dark magic practiced in ancient essos have anything to do with it? What do you guys think?
  14. In the GOT prologue, right before Gerard noticed something is wrong as the air grows cold and quiet as the Others approach, we have this line about Waymar’s cloak: “His great stable cloak stirred behind like something half alive.” So we’re the Others reanimating the sables in his cloak or is this just foreshadowing the reanimation of the dead? Or is it just nothing?
  15. The story says he gave his seed and “sacrificed” to the Others; to me the most reasonable interpretation is he reproduced with the Corpse Queen and have their children as the “sacrifice”. Also notice that opening the Black Gate - which is as old as the Nightfort itself - requires reciting the Night’s Watch oath but does no include the part about fathering no children or taking no wives. So it’s likely that part of the oath came after, perhaps as a result of, the Night’s King.
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